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How Will You Celebrate Your Next Birthday?

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA

Kymberly hanging from atch at R la PExercising My Birthday Rites (of Passage) at Rancho la Puerta

Can you believe that I get to celebrate my 56th birthday with my dear friend from Texas (yee haw!) at Rancho la Puerta fitness resort?! Meantime twinster, Alexandra gets to work at home. Awwwwww. Go ahead feel sorry for her as I did get the better end of that stick! Courtesy of twin friends who teach at the Ranch, I was invited as their guest to stay the week at the place voted numero uno in the mundo for Best Destination Spa. To top off the birthday specialness, one of my favorite authors, Dr. John Ratey, whom sis and I interviewed for our radio show, was presenting at the Ranch this same week.  Oh yes, people, I did bring my copy of his new book, Go Wild for him to sign. He even dripped sweat on it as we had just finished an indoor cycling workout. Geek squeak!

Anyway, the point of this birthday brou-ha-ha is to tell you that this post will be short on text; long on photos. I mean, who wants to spend her b-day on a laptop writing long posts when Rancho la Puerta hikes, aqua workouts, exercise classes, meditation walks, and organic foods call. Not I, said the little red(headed) hen.

May you enjoy the pics below depicting me picturesquely, if not fully picaresquely.

Rancho la Puerta scu;pture

Kymberly on breakfast hike Rancho la Puerta

Motivated to get going on the Breakfast Hike to the organic farm. 4 miles done before 8am Bam!


rancho la puerta

What’s behind door number 56?


Doors to organic garden

Open sesame. And organic gardens filled with healthy food.

Kymberly at arbor

Can you tell I woke at dawn to hike?


rancho lounge

No bad views except in the rear view mirror when leaving


Oak grove, Rancho la Puerta

Can you spot the quail on the Quail Hike? Me neither, but it’s still beautiful.

Ceramic sculpture at the ranch

This sculpture detail made me think of Alexandra on our birthday. Any idea why?


Ranch grapevines

There’s oro in them thar hills. And some grapes in the former running track.

Artwork in the dining hall

Feasting my eyes on yarn/wax artwork in the dining hall.


Swinging from a tree at R la P

And with this final photo, I will leave you hanging.

So how do you plan to celebrate your next birthday?

What was your best birthday yet?

On our birthday list? Having you help spread the word about being active! Please pin the images, and:

1) Follow us on Google +Alexandra and +Kymberly, on Twitter: AlexandraFunFit and KymberlyFunFit and Instagram: AlexandraFunFit and KymberlyFunFit.

2) Pick up the phone or email us to book us to speak at your next meeting or conference. Call (805) 403-4338 or email info@funandfit.org.


Be Inspired to Age Actively: Deborah Szekely at 91

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA

Deboarah Szekely at 91

Deborah Szekely, Founder of Rancho la Puerta and Golden Door Spas

“Not only must we not move less as we age. In fact, we must move more!” So warns Deborah Szekely, the 91 year old founder of the Golden Door and Rancho la Puerta fitness resorts.

Kymberly speaking at Rancho la Puerta

Speak and BeSpoken!

As a guest presenter at the Ranch the other week, I had the chance to hear Deborah speak about her life, wellness passions, and big visions for our country’s health. She had me with her opening statement. If ever there was a living testament to the benefits of living an active, healthy, socially conscious life, Deborah is the “It” woman! I want to be as mentally and physically sharp as she when I hit 70, much less 91! I wouldn’t mind being as rich and influential either, come to think of it. (If you haven’t heard of her or Rancho la Puerta, click on the link of her name above. You’ll be amazed at what she’s created).

How do you picture yourself at 91? What are you willing to do today, tomorrow, and the rest of your life to be all you can be as you whuff out more birthday candles each year? Let’’s face it — body parts start to hurt. Joints start talking and won’t shut up. Yakkity yak, want my young joints back. What wisdom, experience, and clever tricks can we call upon to stay active while acknowledging physical realities? (You all can turn to our YouTube videos for answers to this question).

Rancho la Puerta Hike Spot

I Plan to Move Up Not Drop Down!

A story Deborah shared highlighted her point about needing to find ways to move more as life advances us. She had just downsized from her three-story house of 59 years to a much smaller, one-story home. Makes sense that she no longer wanted to roam about in a big space with lots of stairs and upkeep. (As a baby boomer who just moved into a brand new home after spending almost 9 years in a little cabin during a long construction process, I am not thinking of downsizing … yet. But I can well imagine going to a one-story home again in 20-25 years).

You’d think that at 91, Deborah would be ready to ease up a bit in her new digs. Instead, this tiny, little bitty package of energy strapped on a pedometer at her former palace to get a feel for how many daily steps she took getting up, down, ‘round about. Then she did the same at her new place. “Now to figure out how to make up the difference,” she concluded. BAM! Not where I thought she was going with her story. But is that inspirational, or what??!!

Yes, she saw a built-in slowdown coming and actively searched for ways to keep moving forward, not back. One of her solutions was to go from two to six Pilates classes per week. Another was to add more walks into her day — through the neighborhood, to the grocery store, to the nearby park. As she put it, “I have a lot I still want to accomplish yet strongly feel the urgency of time.”

Sign goihng back to the Ranch

It’s a Sign! I Need to Go Back to the Ranch!

What do you still want to accomplish in your life? How much energy will you need for that? How will you make up for any “downsizing” that occurs, literally or metaphorically? As for me, I plan to haul my hiney to the Ranch next year. I want to hear Deborah speak again when she hits 92 and tells us how her plan to organize a Wellness March on Washington is coming along.

For now, please enjoy some of my pics from Rancho la Puerta — one of my key happy, active places for life!

Help others to age actively. Do MORE  when you:

A) Hire us to speak at your next meeting or conference. Call (805) 403-4338 or email info@funandfit.org.

B) Subscribe to our YouTube channel and blog.

C) Follow us on google +Alexandra and +Kymberly, on Twitter:  AlexandraFunFit and KymberlyFunFit and Instagram: KymberlyFunFit and AlexandraFunFit.

Mountain at the RanchHiking at dawn at Rancho la Puerta


Path to Dining Hall at Rancho la PuertaStars at Rancho la Puerta



Yoga Offers Freedom, Even From Internment Camp Hardships

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

Yoga Legacy, Phyllis PilgrimWhat can yoga do for you, especially if you face challenges, stress, and negative forces? What if you had spent 3 1/2 years in a Japanese prison camp as a child? Could yoga help rid your mind and body from such experiences? Yoga and meditation master teacher, Phyllis Pilgrim is living proof of the healing power of yoga.  Her story is so inspirational that we interviewed her for our Fun and Fit radio show.

Rancho la Puerta entry door

Enter Rancho la Puerta through these doors to Balance, Compassion, and Yoga

We met Phyllis 28 years ago when we were newbie guest instructors at Rancho la Puerta Fitness Resort, located just south of the border in Tecate, Mexico. At the time we knew her as the Group Fitness Director and well loved and respected yoga teacher. But we knew very little about yoga except that it seemed for the fringe and oohie woohie sorts, nor that Phyllis had lived in many countries and through war horrors. She was always so nurturing, funny, warm, and positive that we never imagined her history. That fact alone bespeaks the effect that yoga and meditation can have.

The Hidden Passport

The Hidden Passport

Bring some of those same positive feelings into your practice by listening to Phyllis’s story.  Can’t wait to listen?  Click on the radio episode and finish reading this post later. Not only will you appreciate what yoga can do to improve your life, but also you’ll get a kick out Phyllis’s sense of humor and English “elocution.” Then read the book she wrote of her childhood prison experiences, The Hidden Passport, which was easy to read and fast paced.

Given the hardships and cruelty she faced as a child imprisoned in Japanese war camps, Phyllis is especially appreciative of the ways yoga brought joy and awareness back into her life. “Yoga offers Balance, Compassion,and Gratitude,” she asserts.  “Yoga is not just what you do; it’s also who you are.” Some of the benefits yoga or meditation include:

  • finding more compassion for yourself
  • appreciating your body and mind
  • embracing change more effectively
Find Your Way

Find Your Way at Rancho la Puerta

Looking for the ultimate yoga or guided meditation treat? Head to Rancho la Puerta, a place we hold near and dear to our hearts. Take Phyllis’s classes in person. Discover an entire range of fitness classes, hikes, cardio workouts, art classes, and top quality instructors. (Side note: if you are thinking of going to “the Ranch” let us know as we can save you $250).

Please click to visit us at FunandFit.org, subscribe to our YouTube Channel, and follow us on twitter: @KymberlyFunFit and @AlexandraFunFit.  See our instagram pics at: @KymberlyFunFit and @AlexandraFunFit. We follow back!

We were not compensated in any way for this post.  Our goal is for you to listen to our radio show and have a healthier, happier life.  For more on yoga, take a look at our post, Yoga: For Flexibility? Weight Loss? Animals?


4 Stages to Healthier Habits

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

Want Better Habits?

Do you have a health habit you want to change? Vowing to eat healthier foods? Promising yourself to exercise more or get more fit? Deciding it’s time to quit smoking or sleep longer or strength train?

Have you tried to set better habits before only to fail? Forget any past unsuccessful attempts. Accept that habit change requires more than willpower or goal setting. You need a tried and true strategy based on how we really behave.

Kymberly: I got to hear licensed psychologist, Neil Fiore, PhD, speak on behavior change at Rancho la Puerta Fitness Spa (“the Ranch”), when I was teaching there last week. Oh, those high level speakers the Ranch attracts for evening sessions — Just another bonus of going to Tecate, Mexico! I plan to make my presence there a habit! (Ya hear that, Ranch team?).

According to Dr. Fiore, a specialist in productivity, successful habit change is a four stage process.

Stage 1: Make Up Your Mind

Evaluate the pros and cons of the habit you want and the habit you are trying to leave behind. What are the risks? The benefits? What pain are you feeling and what are you willing to do to “kill” that pain?

Alexandra: For many people, the habit we are trying to leave behind is “eating food I know isn’t good for me.” What that really means is, “This food is not good for my weight loss goal, but it is good at giving me an immediate, temporary good emotional feeling.” So the habit to leave behind isn’t eating those foods; it’s eating them as a mood amelioration. One idea is to make up your mind to change that link.

Stage 2 – Commit to Change

Get back to Rancho la Puerta, Kymberly

Get back to the Ranch? Just gotta habit!

Kymberly: Make a plan to get from the old to new habit. Map out the small steps required to shift from A to B. Consider the distractions you will face. Become aware of each action item needed to transition to better health.

Alexandra: Using the example above, commit to writing down your mood whenever you eat. Not just your mood on foods you feel aren’t helping your long-term goal, but also the ones that are. Probably the biggest challenge will be committing to writing everything down! Write that down! Jacktastic! (If you get this reference you are part of the Melissa McCarthy groupies club, and should definitely be committed!)

Stage 3 – Take Action

Kymberly: Decide where and when you will start the new habit. What is your schedule? Accept that you will face doubts and anxious moments. Then show up despite your fears.

Alexandra: Okay, sometimes it’s not so good to show up, especially if Ben & Jerry’s Americone Dream is calling you like one of Homer’s sirens. Your action plan would be to write down your food intake and moods and just observe. That’s it–observe what occurs. Interestingly, when people become aware of their habits, they change them without a lot of conscious effort (and the anguish that goes with it). Just as you picked up some bad habits without really intending to, so can you get rid of them. Obviously, it’s harder for some habits than others, especially if chemicals are involved (think smoking).

Fire those bad habits

Fiery redheads unite to fire those bad habits! From wall art at Rancho la Puerta.

Stage 4 – Have a Long Term Plan

Kymberly: Truth?! You CAN handle the truth!: You will have setbacks. What is your recovery plan? Dr Fiore highlighted this as a key component of habit change success. Those who fall by the wayside give up after a setback, thinking one mistake or one bad moment means failure. Happy habit changers have accounted for the probability of setbacks and create a “get back on track” strategy.

Alexandra: In other words, plan to fail. Because planning will lead to success. No-one likes to be bossed around or told what one should or can’t do, even when it’s you talking to yourself. Create your plan based on what you can and will do! Picture your road to success as having rest stops, not as one big U-turn. Changing habits is mental so if you plan to incorporate the slow-downs, you’ll think, “Aha, I was expecting this, and now I will move forward again,” which is totally different than, “Aha, I’m a loser because I got off the straight and narrow and therefore forget it.”

There you habit!

Readers: What new or improved habit are you currently working on?

Start a good habit right now: Subscribe to our YouTube channel. And our blog. Follow us on Twitter: KymberlyFunFit and AlexandraFunFit. Please also follow us on Instagram: KymberlyFunFit and AlexandraFunFit. We make this an easy habit to instill by giving you handy dandy links in the right sidebar.






Motivational Quotes to Move You

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

Ever have a day (say, like a Monday perhaps?) when you need extra motivation to get out  and be active? Do some of you have that need pretty much every day? For those of you who like an intellectual jolt in the keester to stick with your exercise goals, today’s quotes and images may do the trick.

Kymberly: I took these photos while out on various power walks. Get fit; see nature; take pics; pair with quotes; share with you! What could be better?

Exercise and Motivational Quotes

  • The first photo is of a rock pattern at Lizard’s Mouth in the mountains above Santa Barbara, CA taken when I was climbing the rocks with my puppy and nephew.

Universe Conspires to Make Decision Come True

  • The middle photo was taken at dawn at Rancho la Puerta Fitness Resort in Tecate, Mexico during a trail hike. Again, I was the lucky one to have this opportunity. Or to word it another way, only when at the Ranch do I get up so freeeeakkky early!

cactus flower with Motivational Quote

  • The third image comes from a power walk with Kila (The Ultimate Fun and Fit pupster) at More Mesa along the Santa Barbara cliffs overlooking the ocean.

This last quote–“Strive for Perfection, Not Progress“–is actually one of our favorites as it underscores our philosophy: process over an overwhelming goal; do something consistently versus do nothing  or very little perfectly. We have run into so many people who say they want to be active, yet are stopped by “rules.” “Go this often, do exactly this routine, in this order, at this intensity. Don’t eat this; do eat that, and so on.” If you are already fit, then fine tuning like this is important. But if you are minimally active then anything is better than nothing. The key is to take action in the right direction as some action begets more action.

If motivational quotes help kick start your day, then use them (as they can’t be abused, really).

Alexandra: I am motivated by a quote from our colleague Dr. Michael Luan. He says, “What you move, you lose.” So if you twist your upper body when you walk, your chest will get smaller. If you move from the core, you can trim your waist. You can guess which one I prefer! As to my outfit, people have been wondering what we wear besides workout clothing, so this is one outfit that motivates me to stay fit, as I love these crazy shorts and want to fit into them forever!

Blue top – Green Apple Active

Wine top & Shorts – Ann Taylor

P.S. Did you know we compiled e-books chock full of inspirational, funny, on target health and fitness quotes: 63 Motivational Quotes and 73 Exercise Quotes? For one of the e-books (Mind Your Fitness – Mojo-vational Quotes and Sayings) we collaborated with one of best online motivators we know, Heather Frey of SmashFit. You can get our “30 Quotes to Fit You” e-book free by when you purchase any of the other documents. This compilation gives you a progressive quote a day for a month so you can stay on track when you start a new workout effort.

Also free via my Pinterest board, Quotes: Motivation and Exercise are a few Inspirational quotes like the three above. Why not follow us on Pinterest while you’re at it? KymberlyFunFit Pinterest and AlexandraFunFit Pinterest